Five steps to sustainable self-care

sustainable self-care doesn't always mean the same thing

What if you said goodbye to quick fixes and welcomed sensible, sustainable self-care into your life?

Sure this might sound like a great idea, but pressing the easy, convenient button is way more appealing, because frankly, you’re stressed, moody, don’t have the time to slow down and no matter how much you sleep, you still feel exhausted.

Maybe your pantry is full of Gwyneth Paltrow goop-like supplements, such as “High School Genes,” “Madame Ovary,” and a “G.Tox 7-Day Reset Kit.”

You’re doing all the “right” wellness things, but perhaps you still have this nagging sense of feeling unwell. And you’re not even sure you feel any better $195 later.

While wellness sprung from good intentions, “we are now relentlessly flooded with exploitative offerings, questionable ideas, and a mounting pressure to stay devoted to the divine doctrine of wellness,” says author, Rina Raphael in her book, “The Gospel of Wellness, Gyms, Gurus, Goop, and the False Promise of Self-Care.”

“Women have been led down a kale-covered path promising nothing short of salvation,” says Raphael.

Hey listen, if you love those supplements, go for it (but maybe read the disclaimer first). I’m definitely not judging as I’ve spent hundreds of dollars (eek, maybe thousands if I’m honest) on all kinds of weird supplements and magical products over the past decade.

I get it. I’m human and I want to fit in and feel good about myself too.

So it’s no wonder we fall for Gwyneth’s solutions that prey upon our insecurities and give us hope, promising to boost our menopausal metabolisms so that we can fit into a pubescent pant size. Well, maybe, err, for the short-term.

What can you do instead?

Say goodbye to magic bullet solutions and decide to change and grow your self-care routine. For good.

While not as fun or flashy as taking goop’s “Balls in the Air” supplement, the basics of self-care work. And when approached sensibly, building a sustainable self-care routine can be simple too.

So here are five steps to sustainable self-care:

5 Steps to sustainable self-care

1. Evaluate your self-care skills

  • Are you eating enough protein or veggies?
  • Is there room for better quality food?
  • Do you eat consistently or skip meals?
  • Do you stop eating when you’re satisfied?
  • How often do you move your body, drink enough water, get adequate sleep?
  • Have you considered that your wellbeing includes a healthy connection with others? What, if any, self-care strategies do you practice to manage stress?
  • And how about feeling empowered, like you matter and you’re making a difference?

That’s known as the deep health approach to self-care, one that transforms your whole health, not just one aspect of it. Taking a wide-lens look at your wellbeing matters because each area of your health is deeply entwined and influences your eating and self-care behaviors. When you understand this, you may learn that you’ve been trying to solve the wrong self-care problem.

2. Rip off the self-care Band-Aid

rip off the self-care band-aid

Let’s say you’re exhausted so you take two “Why Am I So Effing Tried” capsules because you desperately need more energy. Or, you’re sick of struggling with emotional eating, so you start a 21-day sugar detox to stop your “go to” comfort habit of emptying a family size bag of M+M’s with a glass of Chardonnay.

On the surface, a diet or supplement may seem to “fix” your challenge, but they’re both just band-aids. As a specialist in habit behavior change, I’ll teach you to see that all human behavior solves a problem. Together, like detectives, we’ll look for the root cause; we’ll focus on the “why” of your behavior or symptom and take action to solve the source of your stress or fatigue.

While a behavior, like stress eating, may seem “spur-of-the-moment,” the groundwork is laid in advance.

But don’t worry if your struggles feel insurmountable. You don’t need to improve all your self-care skills at once.

3. Simplify for sustainable self-care

Next consider how you learn any new skill. You would take one step a time, right?

Let’s say that with compassion, you discover the source of your unwanted M+M and Chardonnay stress habit. You’re overwhelmed with work and parenting, lack me time, so you stay up late and sleep poorly. And this becomes your daily pattern. It feels like there’s no way to stop this vicious cycle. But there is, when you simplify the learning process.

Instead of throwing everything but the kitchen sink at yourself forcing yourself to solve all these challenges at once (hello more stress), you choose one self-care skill to practice. Maybe it’s replacing your late night phone scrolling with reading a fun book to wind down before bed.

And because life isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, meet yourself where you’re at right now. Do a nervous system check. Ask yourself: what am I ready, willing, and able to change within the context of my real (and maybe messy) life? Sensible self-care simplifies your life. So let’s not add another “to do” to an already overflowing list.

4. Ditch self-care perfectionism

imperfect sustainable self care

What if you averaged B+ self-care at the end of year?

Don’t let an all-or-nothing, “on and off the wagon” mindset get in the way of good, sustainable self-care. Sustainable means it flexible and success is on a spectrum. Consistency is the name of the game.

And finally, self-acceptance is foundational to sensible and sustainable self-care.

5. Radically accept yourself

Honor your unique body. You wouldn’t try to force a size 8 foot into a size 4 pubescent shoe would you?

Listen, feeling crappy about yourself can be a life thief causing you to chase an “ideal” body that was your high school size or was never yours. That unrealistic mindset can create a messed up relationship with your self-care.  Meet yourself with compassion and recognize you’re not alone. Take back your time and money. Regain your inner peace and confidence.

Say goodbye to magic bullet, trendy solutions.

Say hello to sensible, sustainable self-care.

Grab your free assessment and let’s get you started!

Complete the self-care assessment and you’ll get a complimentary coaching session to support you on your way back to feeling energized, confident and empowered!

♡ Tanya

(This article was originally published in the December 21, 2022 edition of the Jackson Hole News and Guide).

Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *